Life on the Playground (Everyone Wants to be Picked for a Team)

17 Jan

I just returned from a seminar hosted by the Office of Faculty Affairs at my workplace (University of Massachusetts Medical School) entitled, “Team Science: The New Normal”. It was led by Dr. Robert Milner, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development. Along with his role in administration, Dr. Milner’s research background and focus is in neuroscience.

The reason I’m writing this post is twofold. First, it was my first real formal attempt at utilizing the things I learned reading Mike Rohde’s book, The Sketchnote Handbook (and watching the accompanying DVD). I’ve also worked through Sunni Brown’s online course on visual note taking and read all three of Dan Roam’s books on using pictures in the practice of problem solving. If you find that you’re looking for a new, different, and I’d attest, better, way to think and process and take notes, you might want to give these leading folks in the field a look see. So really, my first reason for writing this post is to show off my new skill.

The second reason is because the seminar had a slant towards junior faculty, those early in their careers who are trying to find their way, make connections, and both raise awareness of and gain recognition for the work that they do. As I took my notes, I couldn’t help but think of how much of what Dr. Milner was sharing about team science, as it applies to junior faculty, sounded so much like what we talk about when we’re trying to figure out how to be successful as embedded librarians and/or informationists.

  • How do you find collaborators?
  • How do you get invited to be on a team?
  • How do you weigh out your contributions?
  • How do you not get lost in the work of others?

These are exactly the same questions we’re asking! And the answers shared were similar, too.

  • Tap into your networks,
  • Be known for what you do,
  • And bottom line, learn how to communicate well.

I went to this session, hoping I’d find a way to better articulate how informationists fit on research teams. Happily, I came away with one more bit of proof that we’re really not that different from scientists at all. I’m going to remember this as I continue to do my work and make my way in this “New Normal”.

Team Science Notes

Click on my notes for a bigger picture. If something doesn’t make sense in them, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

6 Responses to “Life on the Playground (Everyone Wants to be Picked for a Team)”

  1. margotmal January 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    I hope this is relevant…

    I just did a piece on building community relationships for the NN/LM NER Healthy Communities COI with Michelle Eberle and Deb Clark. For fun, I threw the term “healthy relationships” into the search box in MedlinePlus and pulled up resources for teenagers. I took 3 of 8 questions for teens and then morphed them into questions to ask ourselves when we go out into the community (to be continued…):

     Mutual Respect: Do they get how cool you are?
     Fairness/Equality: Is there a fair balance? Things get bad when there’s a power struggle.
     Separate Identities: Are you pretending to like something that you don’t?

    For community work:
     Mutual Respect: Be bold enough to tell them how cool you are; humble enough to learn how they are cool, too!
     Fairness/Equality: Balance, but its very nature, is tricky. Test it out; see what needs to change. Be aware of your institution’s reputation within the community. You are a representative of your institution (good/bad).*
     Separate Identities: Are your partners just saying “yes” and doing something else? Are you uncomfortable with the direction the project is taking? Place value on everyone’s opinions and experiences.

    *here I wanted to point out that just because you think you and your institution are doing something wonderful for the community, don’t assume that they will be oh-so-grateful. They may view your institution as an elitist behemoth.

    • salgore January 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Thanks!! I think this is quite relevant. It’s yet another example of what we can learn when we’re in the same place with others AND we can see that the differences that we often think exist, don’t. Better put, we’re sometimes more alike than we realize.

      It also adds to the list of things to know and act upon when trying to find your way. Yes!

    • salgore January 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      P.S. See you at banjo mania tomorrow night! 🙂

  2. margotmal January 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Yes! And, Ed can tell us about his visit to the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City. I pick him up at the airport tomorrow at 5pm.


  1. What did you say?! | A Librarian by Any Other Name - April 10, 2013

    […] might recall a post that I did back in January where I shared my sketch notes from a lecture on team science. I went to another lecture in this […]

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